Sultanahmet Square

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Sultanahmet Square: Our most recommended tours and activities

Istanbul: Topkapi Palace & Harem Tour with Entry Ticket

1. Istanbul: Topkapi Palace & Harem Tour with Entry Ticket

Discover the Topkapi Palace on a guided tour. Learn about Ottoman history in the Palace and the life of the Sultan's family in the harem.  Meet your dedicated guide at a hot spot for traditional Turkish delicacies, where there are restroom facilities and you can purchase water or snacks. Then let your guide take you to Topkapi Palace. Explore the splendor of Topkapi Palace, the heart of the Ottoman Empire. Discover the complex of buildings, pavilions, and courtyards was a self-contained city, which most inhabitants rarely left. Explore the outer-terraced gardens and admire the view over the Golden Horn. Visit the harem, ruled by the Queen Mother who wielded domestic and political power. The harem housed hundreds of women and family members as well as hundreds of eunuchs, who performed a wide range of duties. Admire cupboard doors inlaid with mother of pearl and tortoiseshell and stunning Iznik tiles with verses from the Quran. The tour ends with a visit to the holy relics and the imperial kitchens.

Best of Istanbul in 1 Day

2. Best of Istanbul in 1 Day

Discover Istanbul's most iconic sights on a van tour. Listen to your guide recount tales of the city's colorful past as you pass by landmarks such as the Topkapi Palace, Blue Mosque, and Hippodrome. Round off the experience with a visit to the Grand Bazaar, one of the oldest covered markets in the world. Start your tour at the Hippodrome of Constantinople, which was the sports and social center of the old city. Discover major artworks including the Obelisk from Egypt, the Serpentine Column from Delphi, and the fountain of Willhelm II. Then, continue to the Blue Mosque, whose 6 minarets adorn Istanbul’s skyline. Next up is the Topkapi Palace, which was home to Ottoman emperors between the 15th and 19th centuries. Marvel at the jewel-stuffed treasury, the Ottoman Empire's imperial collections, and priceless displays of Oriental porcelain. If the Topkapi Palace is closed on your trip date, you'll visit the Nakkas Cistern instead. Continue to the Hagia Sophia Mosque, a monument of equal significance to the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires. Behold the dome and stunning mosaics of this architectural gem as your guide recounts its turbulent history. Then, enter the Grand Bazaar with over 3,000 shops selling everything from carpets to jewelry to ceramics and leather goods. Take a stroll around the Spice Bazaar and soak in the aroma of different spices, dried fruits, nuts, sweets, and lokum (Turkish Delights).

Istanbul: 1-Day Hop-On-Hop-Off Bus Tour with Commentary

3. Istanbul: 1-Day Hop-On-Hop-Off Bus Tour with Commentary

Explore the beautiful city of Istanbul at your own pace with this hop-on-hop-off bus ticket including audio commentary in 8 languages. Your ticket is valid for 1 day and will let you spend more time discovering the highlights that most interest you. Jump aboard your double decker bus and enjoy a tour designed for those who want flexibility during their sightseeing exploration of Istanbul. With additional commentary from your audioguide, you will learn interesting facts about key sights whilst savoring delicious complimentary snacks on board. During the route you can stop at locations like Sultanahmet Square, Eminönü, Karaköy, Galataport, Dolmabahçe Palace, Naval Museum, Beylerbeyi Palace, Taksim Square, Beşiktaş Bazaar, Şişhane, and Egyptian Spice Bazaar.

Istanbul: Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, and Grand Bazaar Tour

4. Istanbul: Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, and Grand Bazaar Tour

Like most visitors to Istanbul, especially first-time visitors; you will want to see and photograph the Blue Mosque. Complete with its 6 minarets and ornate glass windows, this site is a must when visiting Istanbul. Following that, you will travel next door to the Hagia Sophia Museum. A magnificent Byzantine Church, it is one of the finest and largest architectural works of art in the world.  After the Hagia, you'll find your way to the entrance of the Grand Bazaar, one of the oldest covered markets in the world. In addition to its historical importance, it's a bazaar that will tempt even those without an interest in shopping with its rich collection of precious handmade carpets, jewellery, leather, and souvenirs.

Istanbul: Small Group Skip-the-Line Luxury Day Tour

5. Istanbul: Small Group Skip-the-Line Luxury Day Tour

Discover the only city in the world on 2 continents - where east meets west - on a full-day sightseeing tour of Istanbul by luxury minibus. Following a pick-up from your hotel or cruise ship, visit the Hippodrome to explore the former center of sport and political activities in Constantinople. Marvel at the Obelisk from Egypt, Serpentine Column from Delphi, and fountain of Wilhelm II. Continue to the iconic Blue Mosque, known for its glorious blue Iznik tiles and 6 minarets. Admire the former imperial residence of the Ottoman sultans at Topkapi Palace, and learn how the Great Ottoman Empire was ruled. Today, the palace is a spectacular museum, with one of the largest collections of Chinese and Japanese porcelain, along with the famous treasury of the Royal Family. Next, go to the Hagia Sophia, a magnificent Byzantine Church that is considered one of the finest architectural works of art in the world. Stroll the alleys and warrens of the Grand Bazaar, and interact with the vendors selling their rich collection of precious handmade carpets, jewelry, leather, and souvenirs. Transfer back to your hotel or cruise ship for the end of the tour services.

Istanbul: Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque Skip-the-Line Tour

6. Istanbul: Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque Skip-the-Line Tour

Discover the classic monuments of Istanbul on a half-day guided tour of the city center, including skip-the-line entry to Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque. Visit the colorful and lively Grand Bazaar to shop unique local products. Start your trip with pickup directly from your chosen hotel or pickup point, and then make your way by air-conditioned vehicle to Sultan Ahmet Square. Skip the long lines to Hagia Sophia, built on the site of an earlier church under the orders of Emperor Justinian I. Learn how it became the largest cathedral in the world and was later converted to a mosque during the Ottoman Empire. Continue to the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, commonly known as the Blue Mosque, and see the blue Iznik tiles and minarets of the city's most iconic attraction. Learn more about the former arena of the Byzantine Empire at the ruins of the Hippodrome of Constantinople. Round off your trip at the Grand Bazaar, one of the largest covered markets in the world with more than 60 streets and 5000 shops. Stop into an authentic oriental atmosphere and see all kinds of gifts, leather clothing, rugs, antiques, jewelry, hand-woven fabrics, and more.

Private 7-Hour Istanbul Tour with Red Carpet Treatment

7. Private 7-Hour Istanbul Tour with Red Carpet Treatment

Your private guide and driver will meet you at your hotel or cruise ship, and you’ll head out for a full-day VIP tour of Istanbul. Visit the Hippodrome, the center of sporting and political activities of ancient Constantinople. See the Obelisk from Egypt, the Serpentine Column from Delphi, and the German Fountain of Willhelm II. Continue to the Blue Mosque, dating from the 17th century. This is one of the largest mosques in Istanbul and one of the principal features of the city skyline. It’s best known for its blue Iznik tiles and 6 minarets. Afterwards, you’ll visit Topkapi Palace, the former imperial residence that was the seat of the Great Ottoman Empire. Explore the spectacular museum and its vast collections of Chinese and Japanese porcelain and the treasury of the royal family. Continue to the Hagia Sophia, the magnificent Byzantine Church considered one of the finest and largest architectural works in the world. The last stop on the tour is the Grand Bazaar. In addition to its historical importance, this is a shopping venue that will tempt even the non-shoppers among you with its rich collection of precious handmade carpets, jewelry, leather, and souvenirs. At the end of the tour, you’ll be transferred back to your hotel or cruise ship.

Istanbul Private Full-Day Classics Tour with Options

8. Istanbul Private Full-Day Classics Tour with Options

Your full-day tour begins with a morning visit to the Hippodrome, which at one time was the center of Byzantine social and recreational life. A few parts of this spectacular site remain, including the Obelisk of Thutmose III and the Serpent Column. The Blue Mosque, also known as the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, is located next to the Hippodrome. Its exceptional architectural design features 1 main dome, 8 secondary domes, 6 minarets, and a vast number of blue tiles – hence the name. Built during the reign of Ahmed the First, the Blue Mosque continues to function as a mosque as well as being one of the city’s top tourist attractions. Next is a visit to Topkapi Palace, which dates back to 1459. It served as the primary residence of the Ottoman sultans for nearly 4 centuries. In 1924, the palace was officially declared a museum. The Palace covers a large site and features several buildings. You’ll see a fine collection of Imperial and Ottoman utensils, relics, caftans, and portraits of the sultans. Following your visit to Topkapi Palace it will time for a lunch break, and your guide will recommend some restaurants where you can enjoy delicious Turkish cuisine. After lunch you’ll take a tour of Hagia Sophia, which served both Christianity and Islam at different times in history. When it was first built in 537, it was an Eastern Orthodox church. In 1453, when Constantinople was conquered by the Ottoman Turks, the hall was transformed into an imperial mosque. Approximately 5 centuries later, Hagia Sophia was converted into a museum. After visiting Hagia Sophia you’ll travel to the Grand Bazaar, one of the oldest and largest covered markets in the world, comprising 61 covered streets and more than 3,000 shops offering almost anything you might need. The bazaar is a part of the walled city and was built during the years 1455-1461.

Istanbul: Topkapi and Hagia Sophia Small Group Tour

9. Istanbul: Topkapi and Hagia Sophia Small Group Tour

Meet your professional and local guide at a central Sultanahmet location and enjoy a small group or private tour of the Hagia Sophia. See the famous landmark in all its 6th-century glory. Climb up the gallery with your guide to see the mosaics surviving from this ancient church, former mosque, and now internationally famous museum. Continue your journey to Topkapi Palace, the second stop for the day. Here you can explore the palace grounds, courtyards, and its Harem on a guided tour. Later on, visit the Harem, ruled by the Queen Mother who wielded domestic and political power (if option selected). The harem housed hundreds of women and family members as well as hundreds of eunuchs, who performed a wide range of duties. Marvel at its opulence and mystery and learn about this period in Istanbul's history. See several exhibitions inside the Palace. Admire cupboard doors inlaid with mother of pearl and tortoiseshell and stunning Iznik tiles with verses from the Quran. Your tour will end with a visit to the holy relics and the imperial kitchens.

Istanbul: Best of the City Private Full-Day Walking Tour

10. Istanbul: Best of the City Private Full-Day Walking Tour

This private experience is the perfect introduction to Istanbul for first-time visitors. Enjoy a guided full-day tour to discover the best of the city. The tour can be fully customized to suit your needs, simply tell your guide what interests you the most.  Visit the historic Hippodrome, the exquisite Blue Mosque and the iconic Hagia Sophia. Experience the lavish lifestyles of the Ottoman Sultans with a tour of Topkapi Palace, or browse the colorful stalls of the Grand Bazaar. The choice is yours. Benefit from pickup and drop-off at your centrally-located hotel. With your private guide you’ll enjoy priority entrance to all the sights, so standing you won’t waste time standing in queues.

Other Sightseeing Options in Sultanahmet Square

Want to discover all there is to do in Sultanahmet Square? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Sultanahmet Square

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 2,482 reviews

Our guide was superb. She worked for a local tour operator and was terrifically familiar with the Sultanahmet area. We toured all there, plus the Grand Bazar and she allowed more than the 6 hours we were supposed to have taken. A thorough walking tour. Great. Very recommended.

Salih was a super guide, very friendly and know his stuff. Give me a lot of precise and enough information about Istanbul highly recommended!!!

was very informative..hazal was our guide.she is so friendly we felt like we were with family member.was very nice experience

great and interesting guide to know about the history of the historical Istanbul

Very good walking tour of Istanbul... I really recommend it.